I've always loved decorating spaces. I worked in two design studios in the past, and though I enjoyed working at both, working with clients isn't so much fun. People aren't very adventurous and they perseverate over the wrong things. Many are way too concerned with buying the right thing in the minds of others, instead of looking for the things that would make them happy. That's no way to construct a home environment you can thrive in. I tend to be bold and look for inspiration from people, not trends or ideas being flaunted by industry insiders. I like mixing and matching different, yet complementary styles and textures. Function is pretty important to my philosophy, but it certainly isn't the only consideration either. I like to salvage and re-purpose and think that is something everyone should be considering. The easiest way to let you know my thoughts on design, is to show you. Take a look at some of the rooms at our place.
The livingroom is in the new part of the house which has three stories and a 25'x19' footprint. About half of the "stuff" we have comes from the side of the road, thrift shops, or second hand shops. The rest is pretty equally divided between family heirlooms and new purchase items. As you can see we aren't afraid of color or pattern or afraid to mix and match. Much of our influence comes from the Art Deco period, fifties retro, and Dutch modern. The armoire in the foyer and the fifties glass top tables are from Stan's family. The marble top items are from my family. The goose neck rocker was made by my grandfather, he was a master craftsmen. The tall chest, coffee table, the sideboard, and the shelf above the exterior door were roadside finds. Stan redressed the chest and table with faux marble tops and diamond decorations. The burgundy occasional chairs, the table lamps, and the two large art pieces were second hand finds. The two floral topiaries are my handmade Happiness Trees. We made this room very tall to accommodate future art pieces we find.
The Dining Room- Lower Hall- Bath
This section covers an area in the old part of the house dating back to 1871. The last two pictures attached to this section are of our formal dining room. The tin ceiling is original to the house. There are two other tin ceilings we were able to save, but the fourth we had to remove. It was under the bathroom and previous owners had allowed leaks to rot the ceiling. The tall armoire was a second hand find and the bar was found on the side of the road. The two pink chairs were my grandmothers and date back to the fifties. The painting above the bar was created for us by Aaron Logan, a local artist. He and his wife Amanda are two of our best friends. I sanded the floor, stained it and put on the high gloss poly coats. There isn't much to say about the hall and the only thing worth nothing in the bathroom is the faux stained glass window Stan created.
The Kitchen-The Nook
This section covers an area in the old section of the house dating back to 1871. The first three pictures at the bottom of this section are the kitchen nook. That room had a tin ceiling, but it was severely water damaged and we had to take it out. The table was Stan's family table when he was a child and the chairs were second hand finds. The cabinets in the nook and kitchen are from IKEA. You have to love that company. We looked at kitchen cabinets that were almost exactly the same cabinets(same finish, handles, and frame) from a major retailer and they were going to charge 14K for our kitchen cabinets! We purchased them from IKEA for 5K. Such a deal! The next three pictures are of the kitchen proper. We were able to save the tin ceiling in the kitchen and the original sink and cabinet are still along the wall. The stove was a second hand find. Stan made the curtains. These two rooms will be combined by taking down the wall between them when we remodel the kitchen in a few years. The "window" with curtains covering it, that you see in the kitchen, will be changed to a cut out to the livingroom, opening the space further. We plan to find some way to use the old sink and cabinet we replace.
The Master BedroomOur master bedroom is seated in the new addition. We really wanted the room to be light and bright. This room will eventually have lights trailing the perimeter of the ceiling and those lights will be hidden with ceiling trim. We still have to frame most of the art for this room. It was great to get the extra space we needed for the pieces we wanted to go into this room. The bed is a purchase Stan made from a discount place years ago, the wood vanity with circular mirror we bought at a local yard sale. The two chairs came from a second hand shop and the tall black chest and the burl wood chest by the windows were both found on the side of the road. The radio was the best find in this room. It was at a second hand shop, and yes it does still work! The black dresser with the round mirror was Stan's grandmother's and the hope chest at the foot of the bed was my great grandmother's hope chest. The black hutch in our walk in closet was built by me and my grandfather during the eighties. We chose to install pocket doors on the closet so we could have the wall space on either side of the wall free.
The den is the heart of our life. The foot print is 19' by 25', with the dormer adding more height to the ceiling than would be, had we not added it to the roofline. This room has three general purposes. An office for the two of us, informal entertaining, and a studio space for me. I don't even try to keep this part of the house squeaky clean or worry about the clutter. This is our workspace, it is bound to get messy. Above you can see both of our computers. They face each other so we can see each other as we talk, if we both happen to be working at the same time. The 25 inch monitor is mine. I'm on the computer off and on throughout the day, almost every day doing editing, blogging, video work, or graphic art, so the large monitor really helps. The charcoal drawing of Einstein was done by one of Stan's students when he was still teaching high school. We both admire Einstein so it was destined to end up here where we could see it most of the time. The painting in the right of the photo is my work. It is one of my favorite pieces; I could never give it up.
The inspiration for this room was Dutch Modern. There is a good mix of metal, glass, wood, and textured cloth elements in the room, all lending themselves to our chosen style. The paint on the walls is an iridescent blue, that shimmers in the sunlight. The two sky lights let in morning sun and the four additional windows let in plenty of natural light, as well as providing adequate ventilation. Much of the furniture in this room is new, but there are several pieces that are reclaimed items. My workbench behind the sofa was a table in Stan's old classroom. The book shelves and the chest in the corner were all found on the side of the road and have been altered to coordinate with the room. The console that the TV, DVD player, and printers sit on was an old water bed frame, with drawers, that we have re-purposed.
The den is at the top of the house three stories high. Essentially it is at tree top level. This is the view out the back dormer. The neighbor's weeping willow in the center is one of my favorite trees. You don't often see them this far north. I'm always afraid that it won't do well one winter and the neighbors will cut it down. When I look out the windows I feel like I am in my very own magical tree house. It is a nice feeling being up here. Most of the trees in the back are getting to to be quite old. Many were planted when the house was build in 1871. We lost an Ash tree last year. I'm hoping that doesn't start a trend.